VOTE: Worthing charity wouldn’t let young man volunteer

W25274P11 WH Volunteer Phot Malcolm 220611''Sam Doe.W25274P11
W25274P11 WH Volunteer Phot Malcolm 220611''Sam Doe.W25274P11

A YOUNG man who is “desperate for a job” was left angered after a charity refused to let him volunteer.

His mum Betty Healey said her son was “really excited to be getting out of the house” and had been looking forward to volunteering for the charity.

Sam, of Cotswold Road, has been out of work for four years since his father died, but has recently been trying to get a job.

The Jobcentre put Sam in touch with Maximus, an employment and training agency, who suggested a volunteering position at the British Heart Foundation (BHF) shop.

When Sam went to the charity shop on Monday, he was told he could not volunteer because he was not able to read or write.

Sam said: “When I got there the manager gave me a folder and said I needed to read it because it was about health and safety.

“I told her I couldn’t read well and she said I may as well go home if I couldn’t read because there was no point me being there otherwise.”

Sam said he received no offer to have the information read aloud, and when he asked if he could perform duties which did not require reading, such as lifting furniture or cleaning the shop, he was told there was nothing for him to do.

“It was very embarrassing and I feel really low now,” he said. “I was trying to do a good thing for a charity by volunteering – I would have thought they’d love a bit of extra help. Now I just feel like an idiot.”

BHF retail director Mike Lucas said: “BHF have an equality and diversity policy in place and we encourage everyone to volunteer in our shops to help us raise funds to fight heart disease.

“However, we also have an obligation to ensure that we protect the health and safety of all customers, volunteers and staff therefore staff and volunteers have to complete health and safety training in all our stores.

“Where there are volunteers who need extra help, we try to organise reasonable adjustments to enable them to fulfil a role, for example a supporting member of staff working with that volunteer.

“In some cases there may not be the appropriate support available, but we will always strive to involve any volunteer that wants to support the BHF when possible.”

Do you think the charity was right to down the volunteer because he couldn’t read or write? Cast your vote in the panel to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.